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Who Paid the Taxes in Canada, 1951-1988?


  • Arndt Vermaeten
  • W. Irwin Gillespie
  • Frank Vermaeten


This paper measures the changes in total tax incidence in Canada for selected years from 1951 to 1988. It presents the first set of time-consistent estimates of the effect of all Canadian taxes on the distribution of income in Canada. The methodology builds up a comprehensive measure of broad income, which includes the first inflation-adjusted measure of capital income in a tax incidence study. The key findings are that over 1951-88: (1) average tax rates for the poorest 10 percent and the richest 2 percent of Canadian families fell, whereas tax rates for most other families in the middle rose; (2) while in 1951 the tax incidence pattern was regressive over the low income range and highly progressive over the upper income range, it has evolved into one that resembles a flat rate tax system, with some progressivity over the lower income range and for the richest 2 percent of Canadian families.

Suggested Citation

  • Arndt Vermaeten & W. Irwin Gillespie & Frank Vermaeten, 1995. "Who Paid the Taxes in Canada, 1951-1988?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 21(3), pages 317-343, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:21:y:1995:i:3:p:317-343

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    Cited by:

    1. Stanley L. Winer, 2011. "Reflections on the Role of Optimal Design in the Tax Policy Process," New Directions for Intelligent Government in Canada: Papers in Honour of Ian Stewart,in: Fred Gorbet & Andrew Sharpe (ed.), New Directions for Intelligent Government in Canada: Papers in Honour of Ian Stewart, pages 205-210 Centre for the Study of Living Standards.

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